Monday, June 19, 2017

It's not all work and no play :)

In between all the meetings, shopping, cooking,cleaning and teaching we have managed to squeeze in some fun in the last few  months.
 We visited the Maurithuis, an art gallery in Den Haag that has Vermeer’s most famous painting, “Girl with the Pearl Earring”.  Most reproductions of famous paintings are pretty good, but the original “Girl with the Pearl Earring” is absolutely stunning in real life!  It was worth the ticket price to see just that painting.  The city is also beautiful.  We need to go again and explore The Hague.


We joined our missionary zone for bowling on Pday.

The Den Bosch ward had a picnic on the Pentecost holiday.  It was sunny, beautiful weather.   The location was like going to the sand dunes without the “dunes” part : ) It is so flat in the Netherlands! There was plenty of clean sand to play in, pine tree shade to sit in and lots of good food to share.  It was so nice to be outside enjoying good weather with friends. 

  Den Bosch is a good-sized ward for the Netherlands, with more kids than usual and good turnout to activities.  We love being a part of this ward. 


 There was a professional grass court tennis tournament in Den Bosch, the Ricoh Open, featuring two players holding the men’s world rankings of # 7 and #10.  The tournament is a warm up for Wimbledon next month.  With dinners or activities 8 out of 9 evenings in a row, at all of which we were cooking and/or teaching, we didn’t feel we could spend a day at the tennis tournament.  But we went!  We spent all day Saturday watching world class tennis in perfect weather.  We had 9th row, center court seats!

 We bought a sandwich, frites, and drink to share under the patio umbrella and snacked on fresh strawberries and cream.  I didn’t think of menus, grocery lists, shopping, cooking or recipes the whole day!  It was our first real day totally “off” work and we loved every minute of it.  We came home refreshed and ready to dive into the work again : )

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I came....I conquered!

 As you probably know, my microwave slash/ oven has been the bane of my cooking existence since we arrived.  It’s very small, burns everything that isn’t in the very center of the oven and cooks too hot.  It took months to find a small, silver pizza pan that works perfectly for baking.  Also, because I’m not very clever….it took months to figure out that I need to cover everything with tinfoil the first 2/3 of the baking time, then uncover it to brown!  I figured out that the optimum number of cookies to bake at one time is 12, that I need to turn down the oven temperature and I’m inviting trouble if I don’t check whatever I’m baking every 10 minutes.

  Seven months later I have perfect enchiladas and cookies for district meeting for 10 very appreciative missionaries! 

 Then the microwave began blowing the breaker switch every time we opened the microwave door.  We figured out a workaround until the owner could fix it.  But a few weeks later I was getting mild shocks if I happened to be touching the microwave door at the same time I was removing tinfoil.  So finally we got a new/used microwave that looks exactly like the old one. 
 I began baking cookies and discovered with the first batch that even though it looks like the old one, is the same size as the old one, operates like the old one….IT ISN’T LIKE THE OLD ONE!  My first dozen cookies burnt to a crisp!  I’ll admit I was a little discouraged.  I began again to figure out the idiosyncrasies of my nemesis, the microwave/oven. 
This week I baked rolls for district meeting and they are PERFECT!  They are cooked perfectly and browned evenly.  I can’t even tell you how happy and satisfied I feel! 

I came…..I conquered!


Monday, June 12, 2017

We love to see the temple!

One of the big blessings of serving in the Belgium/Netherlands Mission is having a temple close by.  Lately we found ourselves there 3 weeks in a row!

First, we went with Timo.  Timo received his mission call to the Lyon, France mission.  He leaves August 15 for the Provo MTC.  He is so excited and we are too!  He’s an amazing young man.  We’ll be trying to attend as many times as possible before he leaves.


  The next week our darling Julia Oostveen, (on the right) organized a Young Women’s activity to do baptisms for the dead.  They needed additional priesthood holders to staff the baptistry so she asked Joe.  We had a wonderful Saturday morning with these three young women.  Jason Kabal, the tall young man in the back, also came to help.  If anyone needs assistance, whether it’s hauling a missionary bike to a new apartment, a table to Utrecht Centrum for Koningsdag for the missionaries or loaning a bean bag chair to a family with no furniture, he’s there.  He has been a real blessing in our lives since we arrived here in Zeist! 

The next week Sister Franca Oostveen in the Utrecht Ward, who is an avid family history researcher, invited us to join her and her husband, Jan, for a sealing session.  She had some family names that needed sealings done and  we had two sealings of our own to do! Sister Nettie (in the middle) also came.  One of my family names was “Nettie”!  That was a funny coincidence : ).  And yes…that is Jason again, always willing to be a driver and help in any way he can. 

After our sealing session we took a stroll around quaint Zoetermeer Centrum in the sun and enjoyed an ice cream cone together.  It was a super leuk (awesome in Dutch!) day!  

We love to see the temple... Especially with our dear friends : )